Sunday, September 2, 2018

Being Faithful through the Storm

I just finished working through a study on Paul's faithfulness to God when all seemed lost! As I worked through Beth Moore's questions about the Scripture, I felt it almost jumping off the page to share with this community.

The study focused on Acts 27:1-28:10. Let me summarize it for you: Paul was a prisoner setting sail on his way to Rome. It was getting close to winter. After switching ships, Paul could see that if they continued sailing the direction the captain wanted to go then they would face a difficult storm.

Paul was certainly right! For 14 days, the 276 crew members and passengers fought the strong "northeaster" storm. The crew didn't eat for the entirety of those days. But part way through this storm, an angel spoke to Paul, telling him to not be afraid for he and everyone on the ship would be saved. After giving everyone this news, Paul tells them, "'So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me'" (Acts 27:25). Even though their chances looked bleak, Paul had faith in God. 

After fighting for 14 days, the crew sees an island and runs the ship aground. The ship literally begins to fall apart after the pressure of the storm pummeling it for so long. Those who can swim, get to shore that way, and those who can't swim grab a piece of the ship and float to the beach. They are treated with "unusual kindness" by the natives who built a large fire for them. Later, they are welcomed into the island's chief official's home for several days.

Here are some truths about this Scripture from Beth Moore:
  1. Our feelings CANNOT be the basis of our faith. "One reason many people feel 'disappointed in God' is because they treated their feelings as fact" (166). God is unchanging and He loves us. That is what our faith must rest in.
  2. Romans 10:17 says, "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." Even though it appeared that many of all of the people on the ship with Paul would die, Paul listened to God's promise given it that moment. Additionally, Moore writes, "Paul also did not assume that every promise God had ever made in history would be applied to him in his moment of need. The Word of God overflows with many wonderful 'blanket' promises, continually true to all of us (i.e., He will never leave us; He will return for us; He will work things for our good), but many of God's promises are for particular times, situations, and people" (166).
  3. God's deliverance for Paul and everyone on board the ship came from running it aground. "Deliverance doesn't always mean ease. It may be simple and painless, or, God's deliverance in your life may be one of the most excruciating things you ever experience...Difficulty does not necessarily mean disaster" (167).
  4. "God has a place of kindness, warmth, and welcome. A place, where, once you have been faithful to who He is, He will show you what He can do" (167).
Friends, I hope you benefited from this. I understand the hurt, pain, and sorrow you face, but God will deliver you! Isn't that wonderful?! 

All this reminds me of the lyrics from one of my favorite songs, "Hard Love" by needtobreathe:
Hold on tight a little longer
What don't kill you, makes you stronger
Get back up, 'cause it's a hard love

Study quotes from
Moore, Beth. Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit. LifeWay Press: Nashville, TN. 2012.

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